A man in Aceh is set to serve more than 16 years in prison for raping his niece, after his recent acquittal by a religious court in the province was overturned by Indonesia’s Supreme Court.
In early 2021, the district-level Aceh Besar Sharia Court sentenced the rapist, identified by his initials DP, to 200 months (16.5 years) in prison and 100 lashings for raping his niece, in accordance with the province’s Qanun (Islamic criminal code). The sentence was overturned on appeal at the provincial-level Aceh Sharia Court in May 2021, which acquitted DP due to lack of evidence against him.
Prosecutors in the case then filed an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the acquittal. The Supreme Court recently ruled that the evidence against DP presented in the lower level sharia court should have stood, and reinstated his 200 months prison sentence in accordance with the Qanun.
“The punishment is more harsh than the maximum punishment under Indonesia’s Child Protection Law, which is 15 years,” Aceh Sharia Court Chairwoman Rosmawardani said yesterday when confirming the Supreme Court’s decision.
Though Rosmawardani did not offer specific reasons for acquitting DP in the first place, she argued that this case illustrates that functioning checks and balances are in place between the province’s national and religious judicial systems.
The victim’s father, who was identified by his initials MA, was also accused of raping his daughter. However, the Aceh Besar Sharia Court acquitted him of all charges citing lack of evidence against him.